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Our guide to Surviving a long haul flight with children

Travel TipsTravel Advice

Long-haul flights are hardly anyone’s idea of fun, but with their short attention spans, ubiquitous restlessness and need for constant amusement, young children (usually) make far less patient travel companions than their grown-up counterparts.

Make sure they are comfortable  

Comfort is key here. Help your children settle down for the flight by encouraging them to wear extra-comfy clothes, and shoes that you can slip on and off (that way, they can put their feet up, and snuggle down into their seat when they want to sleep). 

Taking off and landing can be really strange for children, especially if they don’t know how to ‘pop’ their ears yet. So, you could try bringing soft earbuds or plugs to stop the pressure from building in their ears. Alternatively, you could bring some sweets, a sippy cup, or a lolly for your children to suck on. 

To keep you sane, we also recommend having plenty of wet wipes and a spare set of clothes to hand for when (it’s almost inevitable) the little cherubs have an accident.

Choose the right snacks 

It’s a balancing act - while you want to bring some fun to the journey, try not to choose anything too sugary so that your kids don’t get hyper after their snacks (in such a small space, this is an absolute recipe for disaster). We suggest a box of dried fruit plus a biscuit or two will tick the boxes nicely. 

Make sure that you bring plenty of water for them to drink, too.

A few new little toys 

The fun and excitement of a brand new toy is a surefire way to keep your kids happy. Revealing a new toy part-way through your long haul flight is a great way to keep their spirits up, particularly if it’s a toy that they wouldn’t normally be treated with. 

Choose a toy like a magazine or a sticker book, that’s filled with lots of new surprises on each page. Toys like these keep kids engaged and entertained for absolutely ages. 

The iPad is your new best friend 

Although we wouldn’t recommend plonking your children down in front of a screen for hours, the iPad is a fantastic back-up option to have in hand for when you’re running low on entertainment ideas. You can download some child-friendly games and programs on the iPad in advance of the flight so that they’re all ready to go on the plane. Plus, by the time you’re a few hours into the flight, you’ll almost certainly be ready for a bit of a break!

Make sure you prepare for your upcoming long haul flight in advance, to minimise the ordeal. Yes, when they’re bored children can be a nightmare (you don’t need an expert to tell you that), but if you think about ways that they can be kept entertained now, and then get some supplies together to bring with you on the day, you’re sure to secure yourself an infinitely more relaxing experience. 

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